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Monday, 21 June 2021

Crisp White and Big Red - Antipodean-Style


A Crisp White and Big Red from Down Under

Crisp White and Big Red is a classic wine pairing for food; white for aperitif and starters, red with meaty main.

In the northern hemisphere, you might look to Chablis or unoaked white Burgundy alongside Bordeaux or Rioja.

Most major European wine-producing countries have food-friendly whites as well as complex reds, so the possibilities are almost endless.

If you want to take the same approach with Antipodean wines, New Zealand Sauvignon has to be on the list of crisp, zingy whites. For reds, Western Australia produces elegant, restrained, food-friendly reds and is one of the few places in the world that suits varietal Cab.

For, despite being the great international red grape, Cabernet Sauvignon most often needs blending to round out its "tannic doughnut", that is a lack of tannins on the mid-palate.

Coonawarra and Western Australia have found that they hvae just the right conditions to avoid this and to be able to produce pure, varietal Cab.

New Zealand's Villa Maria is one the country's most awarded wineries, producing enjoyable, well-made and inexpensive wines year in, year out.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2019 (£12, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Majestic, Co-op)

Aromatic and lifted with gooseberry, lime, grapefruit, musky rubbed sage and white pepper; ripe stone fruits, pineapple, melon and passionfruit with fresh, green apple acidity, honeysuckle, sweet spices and fresh-cut grass; full, supple and and adept.

Drinks well on first pouring and opens up further with some air.


Serve as an aperitif or match with meaty meat with herbs, such as cod in a herb broth or pork and parsley terrine.

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (£14.99 - £17.99, Specialist Cellars, Aus Wines Online, windirect.co.uk)

Bramble and dark berry fruits with spice and damp earth; black fruits, black cherries and complex, toasty spices with grilled fruits, dried herbs and iodine. Full and supple with rounded, well-integrated tannins and lots of fresh acidity; very harmonious and adept.

Shows lots of primary fruit on first opening and becomes more savoury with extended aeration.


Drink with grilled meats such as barbecue foods; decanted for several hours, it will match with plain roast red meats.


From the Vasse Felix website:

Cabernet Sauvignon has a strong heritage at Vasse Felix, being one of the first red wines made at the estate and Margaret River’s first Cabernet.

This is a brilliant expression of the region and a glorious vintage. A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with a dollop of Malbec added to the blend.

It has the structure, power and tannins of classic Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon, but made as an earlier drinking style.

Succulent fruit is sourced from each of the four Vasse Felix vineyards and vinified and matured in French oak for 11 months as individual batches prior to blending.

The result is a tangy wine, with ripe black cherry fruit and lingering black forest gateau flavours. The acidity is fresh and cleansing, while the fine-grained tannins bely its youth.

Vasse Felix, almost single-handedly, put Margaret River on the world wine map when regional pioneer Dr Tom Cullity founded the winery back in 1967. What he uncovered was world class potential for great wines. Filius, which translates as ‘son of’ from Latin, are the offspring of the flagship Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays for which Vasse Felix are justly famous.

This range of wines is more approachable in their youth than their elder siblings. They are versatile weekday wines, perfect for entertaining on all levels, brilliant with food, ideal as an aperitif, simply delicious and great value for money.

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